Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  •  (1)
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

HIV/AIDS Community Spotlight: People Who Made a Difference in 2010

December 14, 2010

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4 


5. David Munar: Making "the People's HIV Plan" a National Reality

David Munar

David Munar

Without the work of many U.S. activists, such as David Munar, the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which was released in July 2010 by the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy, may have never happened.

Munar, who was recently promoted to CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, was a major figure in coordinating the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, an alliance of organizations from across the country who were tired of haphazard approaches to the development of a national HIV/AIDS strategy. They believed that the strategy should be a clear and concise plan with set goals in mind, in the same manner as the widely lauded U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which benefits resource-poor countries.

Advertisement

Over the years, the coalition reached out to organizations across the country, gaining support. In 2008, it aggressively sought out politicians to talk about the need for a national strategy. It gained massive Democratic support and even Republican presidential candidate John McCain signed on. Munar's role in bringing about the NHAS was larger than the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy; he was also instrumental in the 2007 Prevention Justice Mobilization coordinated by Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). That coalition advocated for a "prevention justice" framework to be added to the NHAS. "Prevention justice" recognizes that the disparities we see in HIV prevention are not just directly linked to those who are labeled as "most at risk" -- MSM, intravenous drug users, sex workers and their clients -- but also to the social, economic and political issues that drive the epidemic, such as poverty, racism, homophobia and gender inequality.

This framework, in the same manner as Denning's study, calls for a different way of approaching HIV prevention that falls outside of the conventional approaches that have been relied on over the years. And thankfully, it has been incorporated into the NHAS.

Yet, since its release, the NHAS has garnered its share of jeers. Some have said that it doesn't adequately address housing; that its goal of reducing new infections by 25 percent by 2015 may be too lofty; that certain marginalized communities, such as Native Americans, might fall through the cracks; and that this strategy might fall flat without extra funding (it was later announced at the United States Conference on AIDS that the NHAS would receive an increase in funding in upcoming years). But it does serve as a blueprint for how we can move forward. And Munar stresses that his efforts have not slowed down just because the NHAS has been released. "This effort was not just about a plan, but about getting better results," he said. "Now we have to focus our efforts on implementation of the plan to bring down infections, increase care access, and reducing disparities."

If anything, Munar's activism shows the possibilities of what a grassroots-led movement can do to advance a policy agenda rooted in social justice for communities most impacted by HIV.


Honorable Mentions

Charles King

Charles King

Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez

NAAP Logo

NAAP Logo

Gary Paul Wright

Gary Paul Wright

  • Charles King and the Housing Works Staff: Whether or not interrupting President Obama during a speech was the best way to get his point across, no one can debate that King, along with his amazingly dedicated staff, have been a driving force in reminding America that "housing is prevention" and that more needs to be done on a policy level to ensure that people living with HIV have housing and economic stability. And they certainly aren't afraid to get arrested for the cause -- just take a look at their rap sheet.


  • Jose Ramirez: While some may recognize Ramirez from the documentary The Other City -- he was the one who told his mother to "say 'dick!'" in an effort to make her less prudish about sex -- for those in Washington, D.C., Ramirez is best known for his fierce activism. Whether he is at Mpoderate!, the drop-in center he coordinates; on MSM dating sites promoting safer sex; or in the red-light districts of El Salvador passing out safer-sex supplies, Ramirez -- who was diagnosed in 2000 -- has made it his life's work to educate young people on the importance of safer sex.


  • The Women of the Native American AIDS Project (NAAP): Since 1994, NAAP has supported individuals who are alienated not only from the general population but their own communities, too, due to HIV stigma, prejudice and homelessness. This small, but powerful, organization (which counts a number of women in significant, long-time leadership roles) provides a vital link for Native Americans in urban and rural areas nationwide by providing HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy, all while staying true to native cultural and medical traditions. Upcoming projects for the organization include a monthly sweat lodge program specifically for transgender-identified Native Americans, slated to launch in spring 2011.


  • Gary Paul Wright and the Staff of the African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC): AAOGC has had a stellar year. With the launch of its LGBT HIV prevention networking campaign, "Status Is Everything"; its implementation of the Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics About AIDS (SISTA) peer-led empowerment program for its transgender clients; its T.G.I.F (Thank Goodness I'm Fabulous) program geared toward transgender women; and its mentorship program for black and Latino MSM, the Newark, N.J.-based organization constantly reminds its LGBT community of color that they are not alone. Wright also sits on Newark Mayor Cory Booker's LGBT taskforce, where he lets it be known what LGBT constituents need from their public officials.

With so much amazing HIV/AIDS work being done throughout the world, we know that our list leaves off thousands. Who else rocked in 2010 and deserves recognition? Please drop us an e-mail or leave a comment below, telling us who and why!

Kenyon Farrow is a journalist who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. Farrow is the co-editor of Letters From Young Activists: Today's Rebels Speak Out (Nation Books 2005), A New Queer Agenda (Queers for Economic Justice 2010) and the upcoming Stand Up! The Politics of Racial Uplift (South End Press). His work has appeared in publications such as theGrio.com, Bilerico.com, AfterElton.com, Utne Reader, Black Commentator, The Indypendent, City Limits, and in the anthology Spirited: Affirming the Soul of Black Lesbian and Gay Identity (Red Bone Press 2006).

Additional reporting by Kellee Terrell and Olivia Ford. Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. Olivia Ford is the community manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.


Copyright © 2010 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4 

  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  •  (1)
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by TheBody.com.
 
See Also
HIV/AIDS Year in Review: Looking Back on 2010 (and Ahead to 2011)
10 Black HIV/AIDS Advocates Who Are Making a Difference
More HIV Activist Profiles and Personal Accounts
Advertisement:
Find out how a Walgreens specially trained pharmacist can help you

 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

 

Advertisement